How Much Sleep Is Enough?
The amount of sleep you need each day will change over the course of your life. Although sleep needs vary from person to person, the chart below shows general recommendations for different age groups.
|Recommended Amount of Sleep|
|16–18 hours a day|
|11–12 hours a day|
At least 10 hours a day
9–10 hours a day
|Adults (including the elderly)||
7–8 hours a day
People also need more sleep early in life, when they’re growing and developing. For example, newborns may sleep more than 16 hours a day and preschool-aged children need to take naps.
Some people sleep more on their days off than on work days. They also may go to bed later and get up later on days off.
Sleeping more on days off might be a sign that you aren’t getting enough sleep. Although extra sleep on days off might help you feel better, it can upset your body’s sleep–wake rhythm.
Almost everyone has experienced sleep debt. It occurs when you stay up late and don’t get enough sleep. Then when it’s time to sleep, you will sleep longer than normal. I have always found this concept interesting. It seems like your body lends you some wakeful time and it’ll cash it later.
If you routinely lose sleep or choose to sleep less than needed, the sleep loss adds up. The total sleep lost is called your sleep debt. For example, if you lose 2 hours of sleep each night, you’ll have a sleep debt of 14 hours after a week.
Sleep debt is the effect of not getting enough sleep; a large debt causes fatigue, both mental and physical. Sleep debt results in diminished abilities to perform high-level cognitive functions.
Planning a late night?
‘Stockpile’ your sleep a night before:
If you are planning a late night, you might be able to avoid the after-effects of too little rest; research suggests it’s possible to ‘stockpile’ sleep in advance to help you cope.
They reckon an extra two hours a night for a short period before going without could help millions cope with busy social lives or changes in shift patterns at work.
The study has been reported in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. They reckon an extra two hours a night for a short period before going without could help millions cope with busy social lives or changes in shift patterns at work. It had been thought the only way to get over sleep deprivation was to catch up afterwards. But the study by researchers at the University of Calgary in Canada suggests that getting extra sleep before a late night is just as good at improving physical performance, brain function and memory recall. The results showed physical and mental performance was better when they ‘banked’ sleep in advance.